Ghanem, Speicher Co-Author Paper on Multi-Lingual Debate Styles in the UN

Late this summer, College of Communication Dean Salma Ghanem, in collaboration with DePaul University Emeritus Faculty member Barbara Speicher, co-authored a paper on comparative language and communication techniques of Arabic and English-speaking leaders debating in the United Nations.

The paper, “Comparative persuasive styles in Arabic and English: A study of the United Nations General Assembly Debate speeches”, was published in the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication.


This study analyzed persuasive styles and tactics used in the United Nations General Assembly Debate speeches by Arabic and English speaking leaders. Past work has identified three persuasive styles: analogical, presentational, and quasilogical. The literature suggests that Arabs use analogical and presentational styles, while the “West” prefers the quasilogical style. Our results indicate that Arabs used the quasilogical style more often than English speakers. All speakers drew upon most of the tactics identified to strengthen their arguments. Finally, there has been a shift in the usage of some tactics for both sets of speakers over 30 years.